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Bugs: Recent Topics Paging, Uploading Images & Preview (11 Dec 2020)

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What books are you reading?

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07 Nov 2021 23:44 #327777 by mc
Replied by mc on topic What books are you reading?
Oh yeah, for sure. I think with this, we're talking artillery, rifles, rockets, so I'm thinking of it in that "modern" context, and a lot are single day engagements.

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11 Nov 2021 16:07 #327886 by Cranberries
I vaguely remember waking up at 4:00 a.m. and writing a long post explaining why Voldemort was smart to take over Hogwarts instead of trying to rule the world, using Nazi methods as a justification. But now I can't find it and am wondering if I dreamed the whole exchange.
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11 Nov 2021 21:25 #327890 by jason10mm
Damn, that "forgeticus" spell clearly didn't take completely!

A wizard will be around shortly to clear your muggle mind of these pesky thoughts :p
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12 Nov 2021 07:56 #327894 by Cranberries
I wish that wizard luck in deleting this conversation. Unless Ubarose is also in on this.

For what it's worth, I really enjoyed the Harry Potter series, as a fun diversion, and have always enjoyed Dune, even though it has some problems. This is probably why they don't let me teach intro science fiction any more.

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29 Nov 2021 10:53 #328332 by Shellhead
I am currently reading The Grand Dark, by Richard Kadrey. I really enjoy his long-running Sandman Slim series, even though the title character is a total Gary Stu unleashed in a pseudo-World of Darkness with frequent excursions to Hell. The Grand Dark is a very different book, featuring a bicycle courier in a steampunk dystopia in an alternate world with a strong Eastern European style. The steampunk aspect is low-key, with much more emphasis on a bleak city of coal dust, cynicism, addiction, decadence, and a growing conflict between subversive anarchists and a repressive police state. There is also some biotech in the mix, as well as spiritual mediums who can talk to ghosts. The Grand Dark of the book title is an elaborate puppet theatre based loosely on the notorious Grand Guignol of 19th century Paris. Kadrey weaves an interesting web of intrigue around the young protagonist, and it often feels like this story could play out a dozen different but interesting ways. It also feels like this setup would be perfect for a video game, with many of the missions based on courier jobs, and the player eventually pressured to join one of the various factions within the city. Most of the chapters are numbered, and those chapters tell the story. The non-numbered chapters are sidebar stories and exposition that flesh out the setting without bogging down the story, somewhat like informative load screens in older PC games.

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29 Nov 2021 12:26 #328334 by jason10mm
Started listening to the Sandman audiobook (radio drama?) on audible. I've never read the comic nor really paid much attention to it, so this was all new and quite interesting. It's fully acted out like a radio play with what I'm sure are lots of dialogue descriptions of things that aren't spoken in the comic.

I never realized how DC this thing was, it straight up involves Arkham Asylum, some Justice League members, etc. So get ready for some serious name dropping and goofy comic lore. It's also pretty violent and a tad sexual, which led to a rather awkward drive-in dining encounter when a young lady came to get my order right as a sex scene/murder broke out :P

Anyhoo, it's pretty fun to listen to as an alternative to a straight narrated audiobook or podcast. Occasional highly recognizable voices break immersion for a bit but overall it's done well. I think there is a marvel thing like this with wolverine. Given the popularity of podcasts I think there could be a future for this sort of thing. I listen to a few audiodramas but this one is much better written to make it easy to follow with the minimal amount of "Hello chap, I like your tall black felt hat, all encompassing black wool cloak, bright piercing eyes, sharp nose over a cruel mouth, and rough hands. Can I get a coffee?" type stuff.
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29 Nov 2021 12:51 #328335 by Shellhead
With apologies to the visually impaired, I think that an audiobook version of a comic book is an awful idea. At least 50% of the comic book medium is the artwork, and the only way an audiobook interpretation can proceed is to either ignore the visuals or spend considerable time describing those visuals. By contrast, a book converted to an audiobook loses nothing in the translation, because the words are directly converted, and possibly even enhanced by whoever is reading that the audiobook aloud.
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29 Nov 2021 14:47 #328344 by Jackwraith
Sandman was quite DC-oriented for its first several issues. Top editorial wanted everything firmly rooted in the DCverse, even if it was the "horror" side of it. But Gaiman was much more comfortable wandering off in different directions that weren't tied to colorful spandex. When the book ramped up in popularity (critical and commercial) as he stuck to different stories, Karen Berger used it as leverage to create the Vertigo imprint so it could be a separate editorial entity at DC and creators could do their own thing without having to worry about how it impacted Superman or, for that matter, worry about having to include characters from the latest crossover from DC rebooting their universe for the fifteenth time. In my last several years of reading comics on a monthly basis, the only things I read from DC came from Vertigo.

So, in short, that will pass and soon it will be just the Endless and Co.
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29 Nov 2021 15:16 #328345 by n815e
Replied by n815e on topic What books are you reading?
I believe Destiny is a crossover character, although I don’t follow much DC outside of Sandman.

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29 Nov 2021 15:17 #328346 by jason10mm

Shellhead wrote: With apologies to the visually impaired, I think that an audiobook version of a comic book is an awful idea. At least 50% of the comic book medium is the artwork, and the only way an audiobook interpretation can proceed is to either ignore the visuals or spend considerable time describing those visuals. By contrast, a book converted to an audiobook loses nothing in the translation, because the words are directly converted, and possibly even enhanced by whoever is reading that the audiobook aloud.


Yeah, there is definitely some extra description thrown in there with a narration by Gaiman and the dialogue from the characters. It is most certainly not just reading the comic book script. So while I can imagine the backgrounds, I'm also certain they are quite well visualized in the comic.

I have some series I've ONLY listened to on audible, things like the Harry Dresden series or the Expanse for example. Makes it kinda weird to actually read a HD story since the names tend to be spelt differently and I'm always imagining a male falsetto voice for the female characters :P For some reason, even though almost all of my books are digital these days, I'm still reluctant to cross over from reading a book to listening to the audiobook for the same series.
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29 Nov 2021 15:56 #328351 by Cranberries
I finished Neal Stephenson's book about geoengineering the climate, "Termination Shock" [NYT review]. some quick thoughts:
  • Using discussion forum markdown for bulleted lists feels arcane and like more work than just doing it manually
  • The book felt like a series of essays on various topics, with characters attached.

* I like Stephenson's digressions, for the most part, and realize that is not a universally held response
* He borrowed from Snow Crash a little, especially the idea of a young man becoming super great at martial arts through extensive practice
* Stephenson loves competent expertise, especially technicians and the military
* He is also fond of large, complex systems
* I'm realizing more than anything else this book is decidedly hard science fiction
* Why is Stephenson wearing a three piece suit in all of his photos now? Is he going to try and raise money for another failed startup?
* I would like to read an essay about how he wrote this book--which combination of arcane tools and processes he used to assemble it. He should just tell people he typed it into his phone while going for long walks, just to mess with them.
* I don't think that Stephenson knows how to end books. They just sort of grind to a halt

Overall, I enjoyed it, but I would put it in the category of "only for fans"

from the above review:

There’s a density to these people, anchored firmly to the historical and geographical minutiae with which Stephenson is so often concerned. In fact, the back stories are the source of some of the book’s most emotionally resonant moments. As absurd as the rest of this sentence is going to sound, there is something profound in the grief of a veteran trying to hunt down the massive feral hog that ate his daughter. You don’t get this sort of thing too often in a lot of Stephenson’s work, and as is the case here, it’s all wrapped up in the sheer oddness of concept that permeates almost every other part of the scene. But when the author allows himself to center human emotion, he frequently does it quite well.

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29 Nov 2021 16:11 #328354 by Jackwraith

n815e wrote: I believe Destiny is a crossover character, although I don’t follow much DC outside of Sandman.


Destiny was from House of Secrets and House of Mystery. So were Cain and Abel. So, yeah, he did use characters that came from the DCverse; albeit technically, since none of those three regularly interacted with the superhero side of it. They came from DC's excursion into horror comics in the 70s, when the Comics Code was radically altered after Marvel demonstrated how ridiculous it was with the Harry Osborn heroin addiction storyline and everyone could suddenly publish horror comics again. But that's why characters like Swamp Thing, John Constantine (who first appeared in Swamp Thing), and the Phantom Stranger were part of Vertigo. It was still DC. Just not "regular" DC.
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29 Nov 2021 16:28 #328357 by Shellhead
One of the early Sandman storylines featured a JLA villain named Dr. Destiny, who is not to be confused with Destiny of the Endless. Another crossover with the mainstream DCU involved former Infinity Inc characters Fury and Silver Scarab. Their continuity was already disrupted by Crisis on Infinite Earths but became hopeless thanks to Sandman. Even continuity-obsessive Geoff Johns was unable to address their continuity problems adequately in his subsequent JSA comics.

One advantage of an audiobook Sandman would be the ability to completely ignore an art problem that developed in the comic series. Comic book artists often come and go, but it isn't a problem for a conventional superhero comic where the heroes and villains have colorful and distinctive costumes. But the overwhelming majority of Sandman characters didn't wear costumes, and Gaiman would periodically bring these characters back without fanfare, sometimes leaving fans baffled because they didn't recognize the returning characters due to a change in artists.

In part due to that artist issue, I lost enthusiasm for Sandman after the excellent 50th issue. It felt like Gaiman lost interest in writing about Morpheus, then decided to eliminate him in the course of an overly long story. Sometimes entire issues focused on one-shot characters and concepts while Morpheus was completely ignored. The writing was still good, but it seemed that Gaiman was using Sandman as a thin pretext for a variety of non-Sandman stories.

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29 Nov 2021 17:28 #328364 by jason10mm
Well, I just hit the one with the century long meetups at a pub and if that is any indication of the quality of the stories, I'm in for as long as it takes.

I do note a crazy obsession with Shakespeare and Jack the Ripper in almost anything british and historical. Is that just an easy shorthand way to engage readers or do Brits spend like a month on these guys in primary school?

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29 Nov 2021 17:32 #328365 by jason10mm

Cranberries wrote: I finished Neal Stephenson's book about geoengineering the climate, "Termination Shock" [NYT review]. some quick thoughts:

  • Using discussion forum markdown for bulleted lists feels arcane and like more work than just doing it manually
  • The book felt like a series of essays on various topics, with characters attached.

* I like Stephenson's digressions, for the most part, and realize that is not a universally held response
* He borrowed from Snow Crash a little, especially the idea of a young man becoming super great at martial arts through extensive practice
* Stephenson loves competent expertise, especially technicians and the military
* He is also fond of large, complex systems
* I'm realizing more than anything else this book is decidedly hard science fiction
* Why is Stephenson wearing a three piece suit in all of his photos now? Is he going to try and raise money for another failed startup?
* I would like to read an essay about how he wrote this book--which combination of arcane tools and processes he used to assemble it. He should just tell people he typed it into his phone while going for long walks, just to mess with them.
* I don't think that Stephenson knows how to end books. They just sort of grind to a halt

Overall, I enjoyed it, but I would put it in the category of "only for fans"


Hmm, I'm gonna have to pass on this one then. His stuff has just gotten increasingly chorish to read. Seveneves was crazy bloated in the first half and felt super rushed in the end, Reamde......I finished it at least. Anathem, eh, ok. The system of the world trilogy took a whole book to get going but then I was hooked. Cryptonomicon somehow got me to finish, I think I had a few long flights in a row. These days it would take me a year to finish.
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